Spaghetti with Zucchini requires only 3 ingredients plus salt and pepper. This classic Southern Italian dish is naturally vegan and a delicious way to enjoy summer squash.
When it comes to vegan pasta dishes, complicated sauces aren't always better, especially if you're using fresh produce. Often it only takes a few ingredients to bring out their flavors.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's full of flavor yet only requires 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper).
- The easy cooking method gives the zucchini the perfect texture.
- It's a great way to use the extra summer squash from your garden.
Pantry ingredients: Spaghetti, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Zucchini squash: Choose green or yellow, or any other variety of summer squash. Smaller squash tend to be sweeter and less bitter than larger ones.
For this spaghetti with zucchini recipe, cut off and discard the ends, then slice into thin rounds with a chef's knife. (Or you can use a mandoline or food processor with a slicing blade, if you prefer.)
- Instead of spaghetti, you can make this pasta with zucchini with linguine, bucatini, or any of your favorite shapes.
- Add fresh minced garlic to the squash while it's cooking.
- Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy version.
- Finish the dish with some fresh basil leaves or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or sprinkle of lemon zest.
- Top your pasta with vegan parmesan cheese.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Cook the spaghetti al dente according to the package directions. Reserve about a cup of the starchy cooking liquid before draining it.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
- Add the zucchini to the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's very tender and reduced in size.
- Add the cooked zucchini to the cooked pasta and toss well, adding some of the reserved pasta water as needed.
Zucchini has a high water content, so be sure to allow it to cook down before adding it to the cooked pasta. Don't be surprised when it reduces in volume as it cooks. It's not nearly as dramatic as with fresh spinach, but you will notice a difference.You can't really overcook the zucchini unless you forget about it and let it burn, so when in doubt, leave it on the stove a few minutes longer.
Leftover pasta can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave. I do not recommend freezing it.
No, there are a few differences between this recipe and Spaghetti alla Nerano that Stanley Tucci loves. First, the zucchini rounds in that dish call for deep frying rather than sauteing. Second, that dish contains provolone cheese and butter, so it's not suitable for vegans.
Like cucumbers, zucchini produce chemicals called cucurbitacins that can make them taste bitter. To avoid this, cut off and discard both ends before slicing. In addition, larger squash tend to be more bitter, so don't allow your garden vegetables to grow too big before harvesting. And when purchasing at the supermarket or farmers market, choose smaller ones.
Unlike most winter squash, the skin on summer squash is thin and tender. In fact, the skin, seeds, and flesh can all be eaten cooked or raw.
Yes, you can use green zucchini, yellow zucchini, straight or crook neck yellow squash, or even round "eight ball" zucchini in this recipe.
More vegan zucchini recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Spaghetti with Zucchini
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions. Reserve about a cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and transfer it to a large serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the zucchini rounds and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are very tender and have reduced in size.
- Transfer the cooked zucchini and any remaining cooking oil to the bowl of pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss everything together to combine, adding a little of the reserved cooking water as necessary, then serve.
- Smaller squash tend to be sweeter and less bitter than larger ones. Cut off and discard the ends, then slice into thin rounds with a chef's knife.
- Before draining the pasta, use a coffee mug to reserve about a cup of the starchy cooking water. Adding a little in as you toss will help the zucchini and olive oil mixture stick to the spaghetti.
- Zucchini has a high water content, so be sure to allow it to cook down before adding it to the cooked pasta. Don't be surprised when it reduces in volume as it cooks. It's not nearly as dramatic as with fresh spinach, but you will notice a difference. You can't really overcook the zucchini unless you forget about it and let it burn, so when in doubt, leave it on the stove a few minutes longer.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.